Your 10 day West Coast itinerary

West coast is the best coast and you won't miss out on a thing if you keep this link bookmarked

  • March 17, 2022

Tips, Recommendations & Facts

Number of Days: 10

Recommended Flight Route: Land in Las Vegas, drive to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and take the flight out of San Francisco.

Best Time to Visit (Weather): May through June
Clothes to Carry: Shorts, tees, polos, dresses, denim, light jackets, joggers, and comfortable clothing

Average Flight Fares: ~ $700 per couple
Budget to Keep Aside Per Couple: $170 a day (covers hotels and food)

Restaurants & Cafes
Las Vegas - Margaritaville
Los Angeles - Mulberry Street Pizza, Yum Thai, Green Temple
San Francisco: Burma Love (Burmese), Shizen (Sushi & Asian), Tony's Pizza (Italian), Gracias Madre (Mexican), Coupa Cafe (Cafe Food), Farmhouse Kitchen (Thai), Taste of Rome (Italian)

Day 1 - Land in Las Vegas

Whether you are traveling by Jet Blue, Delta or United, be sure to land in Las Vegas and make sure to hop on a flight that leaves before 9 am Eastern Standard Time that gets you into Vegas before 1 pm Pacific Time. We recommend staying at the Wynn Encore or The Cosmopolitan. The Cosmopolitan hotel is newer property as compared to the Wynn Encore. After checking in, you can head out for a stroll on the Vegas Strip where there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops that will keep you busy. Be sure to grab a bite or two at Margaritaville and don't forget to order the nachos and margaritas of course. The Las Vegas Premium Outlets is a good hub if you want to shop until you drop. If you want to take a short break, you can head to the Wynn Encore to either press your luck on the roulette tables or to rest by the poolside.

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If you are heading back to The Cosmopolitan hotel, be sure to also relax by the jacuzzi area and you can also call for some drinks and food while hanging around there. Towards the evening, you can dress up and go for a stroll again on the Vegas Strip, and don't forget to watch the fire and water fountain shows. As per various resources and Google.com, The Fountains of Bellagio is a daily experience in Las Vegas, every 30 minutes, from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM Monday through Friday and every 15 minutes from 7:00 PM to midnight. On weekends and holidays, the fountains display their magic every 30 minutes from noon to 7:00 PM and every 15 minutes from 7:00 PM to midnight. The Volcano fire show takes place at the MGM resort on the hour at 7 pm, 8 pm, 9 pm, 10 pm, and 11 pm.

cosmopoloitan_chandelier_bar

Towards the tail end of the evening, be sure to grab a drink or two at The Chandelier bar that is located inside The Cosmopolitan. It gets really busy between 9:30 pm and midnight so make sure to get there at least 45 minutes before wanting a table at your desired time. Before heading to your room, whether you are a pro gambler or just a beginner, you are welcome to play a few hands of BlackJack at the casino located in The Cosmopolitan.

Day 2 - Las Vegas

The first thing we suggest is grabbing your spot at the Jacuzzi right before lunchtime. The jacuzzi area is such a great place to relax and hang out. As mentioned above, they serve you drinks and food right in that area so it is a great place to even grab lunch before getting decked up to heading out. If you weren't able to visit the outlet shops in Vegas, this is a good day to do so. We also suggest visiting some of the other hotels like Paris, The Venetian, Bellagio and Caesar's Palace. If you weren't able to watch the Fountain show and/or the Fire Show, then this is a good day to do so as well.

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Day 3 - Drive to Los Angeles

After checking out of the hotel, you can drive to the car rental company location of your choice and rent a car that you will drive to San Francisco via Los Angeles. We recommend using Budget Rental as they have the best deals and really good cars. We highly suggest renting an SUV (if you are a party of four) as your drive will be most comfortable. The drive from Las Vegas to Los Angele is almost a 5-hour ride so gear yourself up with lots of water and food as at one point of the drive, there aren't many restaurants and cafes around. On the way to Los Angeles, you will come across the Seven Magic Mountains. Take a pit stop here if you want a photo for the gram!

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As soon as you arrive in Los Angeles, we recommend checking into your stay booked via Airbnb, Vrbo, or a hotel. We recommend staying around the Beverly Hills area or Downtown West. Here are two of our favorite listings that we recommend and the price per night is very reasonable. This one that is listed on VRBO is located in Downtown West and is a really cute 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment and the building is also fairly new. Another one we liked is this house which is located in the Hollywood area but is slightly expensive. However, both locations are fairly convenient to all the spots that you would need to visit.

Day 4 - Strolling in Beverly Hills

After grabbing your coffee and breakfast, drive to Beverly Hills and find a good parking spot as you will be here for a few hours. You can walk by here on the streets and explore some of the luxury shops along with the cute mom-and-pop cafes. There are so many places to eat here that we won't even be able to cover but you can't go wrong with any restaurant here. You can pick any place from the above recommendations or feel free to explore and try out anything new. After lunch, you should drive around the different streets near Beverly Hills and Bel-Air. You should also take a peek at the Beverly Hills hotel if you have some time.

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If you are in some comfortable clothing and good walking shoes, you should also hike to Griffith Observatory. It isn't a strenuous hike, but the trail is relaxing and the views from here are breathtaking.

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Time permitting, you can also stroll by the Hollywood Walk of Fame and The Chinese Theatre. These areas are touristy and extremely crowded so be careful and be sure you are fine with such crowded areas.

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Day 5 - Santa Monica and Malibu

Santa Monica is a nice area with the beach by the side and the Santa Monica Boulevard area that has many things to do. We recommend getting here half-hour before lunch so that you have some time to walk around and explore. Giving this place two hours is good enough. After grabbing food, we recommend heading to Malibu. Don't forget to get a glimpse of Pepperdine University (a university with views of the Pacific Ocean and the beach). Malibu has some of the best beaches and we love the small restaurants by the sea where you can grab food and drinks. Give plenty of time to drive between Downtown Los Angeles and Malibu as even though the distance seems short, there is a ton of traffic that can double the time in reaching your destinations.

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Day 6 - Drive to San Francisco

The reason why we are recommending driving to San Francisco rather than flying is that the drive is breathtaking. If you haven't heard, the "PCH" or "Pacific Coast Highway" also known as Highway 1 takes you to San Francisco from Los Angeles and most of this 6-8 hour route has views of the pacific ocean, hilly areas with beaches along the way. The water at one point does look turquoise green making the views more pleasant. We recommend taking pit stops at Santa Barbara and Monterey Bay (Carmel By the Sea). To take advantage of both, be sure to leave Los Angeles around 6 or 7 am. You can grab an early brunch at Santa Barbara and then an early dinner at Monterey Bay (Carmel By the Sea).

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Upon arriving in San Francisco, you can check into your hotel and time permitting, you can grab some sushi from Shizen (one of the best vegan restaurants in SF). We recommend staying in the heart of the city. Some of our recommended areas include Union Square, Folsom Street which is by the water, and Golden Gate Park.

It can get overwhelming trying to figure out what to cover in San Francisco and the neighboring suburbs so we have created a small table below that can be a roadmap for your trip.

Day 7 - San Francisco

9 am to 11:15 am Walk around Union Square, grab breakfast, visit the Apple Store and shop around
11:15 am to 1:30 pm Take the tram (if functioning) to Ghirardelli Square. Walk around and if there are lime bikes, we recommend getting your foot on one. Grab some food and deserts in this area. You can also visit Fisherman's wharf as well.
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm Head to Golden Gate bridge. You can also walk from Ghirardelli Square to Golden Gate bridge if you are up for a long walk.
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm Drive to the crooked street (Lombard Street) and do not miss out on this as this is one of the world's most crooked streets and the lawns and gardening around are beautiful.
3:30 pm to 4:30 pm If you are a park person or just want to relax for an hour, you can head to Mission Dolores Park. This is one of the best parks in San Francisco and the views are great well as it is on an elevation
Before Sunset Visit the Painted Ladies and Alamo Square area.
Dinner Time You can either go to Farmhouse Kitchen or Burma Love. After dinner, head to a rooftop bar or an indoor bar as there are plenty in the area.

 

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lombardstreet

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Day 8 - Sausalito & Napa Valley

9:30 am to 1 pm Sausalito reminds us of Monaco or someplace in Europe so do not miss out on this. Be sure to get here by 9:30 am and spend at least 2 hours here. You can do an early lunch here at Taste of Rome or if you are into fish and chips, there are plenty of options for you here in the area.
Before 1:30 pm Do not make it any later than this as you want to give yourself at least 2 hours to reach Napa Valley. The wineries we recommend are Pine Ridge Vineyards, Domaine Carneros, Cakebread Cellars - Rutherford, Robert Mondavi, Beaulieu Vineyard, and Castello di Amorosa. All of the wineries have a per-person pricing for tasting ranging between $30 and $75. Plan to spend around 2 to 3 hours in Napa Valley.

 

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Day 9 (Last Day) - Palo Alto

9:30 am to 12:30 pm You can keep this day to drive to Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, and the Cupertino area. Techie or not, you should visit the Google, Apple, and Facebook campuses. It is an experience to see such big headquarters.
Lunch Coupa Cafe - Ramona is by far the best cafe and the one we often recommend to everyone. The chipotle quesidillas and the panini sandwiches are our favorites on the menu. If you are a vegetarian, worry not as they can make the order per your requirements.
After Lunch If you are looking to have a short walk after lunch, walk it up to the Stanford Shopping Center (20 minute walk). The walk to the mall is relaxing and as soon as you get to the mall, you will realize it is pretty much an outodoor mall with roofs here and there. You will mostly find luxury branded stores with a few other stores as well.
Prior to 4pm We think you can totally fit Santa Cruz into the schedule so be sure to stick by the time slots we have provided you. The Santa Cruz Beach Board Walk is a must and there are some small roller coasters there as well incase you are up for some thrills and chills. It does take about 1 hour to drive from Palo Alto all the way to Santa Cruz so you should decide to leave accordingly from Palo Alto. Plan to be here in Santa Cruz for about 2 hours or end of day.

 

cupertino

Day 10 - Fly back to reality

Wow! I am not sure if you realized but this was a long trip! So much to do, so much to cover and it still feels like you need more days. Worry not - if you stick by what we are recommending, then you have pretty much covered ninety percent of what the west coast has to offer. We hope you find our recommendations and tips helpful. Feel free to reach out to us in case you find any updated information that seems outdated here. Our team will continue to monitor all our posts to make sure we are providing relevant information.

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